A few days ago we reported the cheeky comments made by Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka with regards to Nintendo and Microsoft. Peter was responding to Nintendo’s suggestion that mobile gaming is harming the wider industry, and said: “If I was trying to sell $49 pieces of plastic to people then yes, I’d be worried too.”
He added: “If the consoles want to stay relevant they have to start mimicking what’s going on around them on app stores, smartphones and online. The pressure is definitely on those guys.”
The comments left at the bottom of the article were decidedly anti-Rovio, so I decided to be a cheeky bugger and penned a follow-up feature titled: Why mobile gaming is better than console gaming.
The feature was intended to be light-hearted, with the hope of stirring up some friendly debate. In case the inflammatory title didn't make that patently obvious, I ended the feature by saying: “Note: I’m clearly being a provocative git here, not to mention a big fat hypocrite. I’ve spent countless hours playing Fallout 3 recently, but I make a good point, no?”
The feature was picked up by n4g where the tongue-in-cheek tone was somehow completely lost. Actually, judging by the comments, it seems that some people were immediately incensed by the title and jumped straight into rant mode. Indeed, one person admitted: “I'm not even gonna read the article,” before asking: “Is this a joke?” Well, in a sense, yes.
The points I made were entirely correct, however a more accurate title for my feature might’ve been something along the lines of “Why Nintendo fears mobile gaming”. But remember, I was intentionally trying to get some debate going. I regret nothing.
It’s also worth stressing that I was suggesting that mobile gaming is better than console gaming; not that mobile games are better console games. That’d be ridiculous.
Anyway, in the interest of fairness, and to appease those console gamers who cried themselves to sleep on Saturday night, I figured I should list the advantages of console gaming over its mobile cousin. Let’s rock.
You get what you pay for. When you pick up a mobile game for 59p, you’re realistically looking at, say, half a dozen quick-blast sessions. Notable exceptions include Angry Birds and the excellent Plants vs Zombies, both of which I’ve played for many an hour.
The more likely scenario is a passionate but brief affair. Flight Control is a great example; I really enjoyed it, would highly recommend it, played it intensely for a few days, but now can’t imagine going back to it.
Console games, on the other hand, have a habit of consuming an unhealthy amount of my free time. As I mentioned before, I’ve spent a ridiculous number of hours playing Fallout 3 over the past couple of months. £20 well spent.
I grew up playing console games on the Sega Master System in the mid-eighties, so I’m well placed to look at the likes of Gears of War and say: “Holy @£%!” I mean, it’s abundantly clear to anyone that it looks awesome, but having spent months playing Choplifter on an 8-bit console 25 years ago, I can really appreciate just how far we’ve come.
I’m unashamedly passionate about gaming, and it really gets my goat when people dismiss it as a pastime for kids. Gears of War is a freakin’ piece of art, man. It’s a hugely cinematic and emotive experience, better than much of the tripe pumped out by Hollywood.
Mobile phones can’t really compete with consoles in that respect. Let’s not even go there.
Playing games with a touchscreen is rubbish. There’s no two ways about it. Even when the controls are well-implemented, your fingers inevitably cover a portion of the screen. It invariably feels like a compromise for not having a physical controller.
Of course, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is the exception here, with proper slideout controls. It’s also worth mentioning that accelerometer gaming is pretty cool. But still, you can’t beat a chunky plastic wireless controller.
Sure, there are mobile games that support multiplayer, and even some that offer voice support, but you can’t beat the shame of donning a headset and playing the likes of Left 4 Dead on the Xbox with a group of friends.
Multiplayer gaming is a huge dealio in the console world, and increasingly campaigns - which were traditionally the domain of the solo gamer - offer co-op play. Meanwhile, mobile gaming is more of an I’m-sitting-on-the-train-by-myself time killer. It’s not a social thing. Quite the opposite, actually.
Ok, that’s probably enough of ranting about games for now. Mobile and console games are both great, but in very different ways.